Sunday December 16, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A principal in a Great Barrington fuel company has purchased the building at 34 North Street that was formerly occupied by one of Berkshire County’s oldest independent insurance agencies.

Covered Bridge Lane LLC, operated by James E. Kimball III of Kimball Fuel, purchased the building formerly occupied by Stevenson & Co. for $180,000, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds and the secretary of state’s office.

Kimball purchased the property from Chamberlain Brothers LLC, which had obtained the former office building for $265,000 from Stevenson & Co. last January. Chamberlain consists of Stevenson executives John Murphy and Terrance Hanlon, who had purchased the structure outright from the company.

Murphy and Hanlon purchased the building after Stevenson & Co. merged with Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins last winter and moved to the MountainOne Financial Center in the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires. The company, part of MountainOne, is now known as Coakley, Pierpan and Stevenson.

Kimball did not return a telephone calling seeking comment on Friday. His attorney, David Hellman of Great Barrington, said Kimball purchased the building as an investment.

"He intends to develop it," Hellman said.

After Stevenson & Co. officially moved to the MountainOne Financial Center last spring, Murphy and Hanlon decided to put the 2,072-sq.-foot structure back on the market in June. Murphy is now vice president of Coakley, Pierpan & Stevenson, while Hanlon is retired.

"Neither of us are real estate guys," Murphy said. "We thought that it should be in the hands of people that would do something with it."

Founded by two Civil War veterans in 1867, Stevenson & Co. had been located at 34 North St. since 1923. The company is named after John M. Stevenson, who joined the firm in 1903.

Murphy said Stevenson’s new location in the Stanley Business Park made it easier to let the company’s former headquarters go.

"Nostalgia is one thing," he said. "But the setup we’ve got now is wonderful. There are no issues with parking, and it’s very convenient for customers. Starting in the 70s or the 80s, North Street stopped being the be-all and end-all."

The former Stevenson Co. building was constructed in 1880. The assessed value of both the building and its half-acre lot is $251,400, according to documents on file at City Hall.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com
(413) 496-6224